Savage: Howard Tells Magic He Will Not Waive ETO

By Dan Savage
March 14, 2012

In what’s turning out to be an ever-changing saga, Magic center Dwight Howard informed the team late Wednesday that he will not waive his Early Termination Option and will instead maintain his right to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Reports surfaced earlier in the day that Howard told his Magic teammates that he would commit to the team through next season.

However, in a bizarre twist of events, Howard and his agent Dan Fegan informed Magic leadership on a conference call later in the day that he would not sign a waiver that would void an ETO clause in his contract.

The All-Star center still maintains that he would like to finish the season in Orlando.

“I’ve been telling (Magic management) for the past two or three weeks that I want to stay and finish the season,” Howard said after Orlando's win over Miami on Tuesday. “I told them I feel we have a great opportunity to win and I told them that I want to be here and I want to bring a championship here. I told them they’ve got to give me that chance.”

Choosing to hang on to the six-time All-Star past Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline without any form of written commitment would be extremely risky for the Magic.

After the season, Howard could become an unrestricted free agent and walk to another organization, leaving the Magic without any compensation for the best big man in the game.

That would strike a sensitive spot for an organization that watched as Shaquille O’Neal bolted from Orlando to the Los Angeles Lakers during the summer of 1996.

As a result, the Magic will have to weigh all their options, including trading Howard, prior to the trade deadline.

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